Monday, February 02, 2015
Back to Merdjayoun from 10 to 11 June 1941
Merdjayoun is actually in southern Lebanon, although the Australian Official History calls it Syria. On 10 June 1941, an attack was made with artillery support. The 2/25th Battalion was to advance up the slopes to the Ibeles Saki plateau, but that was not possible. Instead, they swung to the north and occupied the village and took 12 pack mules. There were also weapons and ammunition. At this position, they interdicted the roads to the north of Merdjayoun. The attack received high-level attention, as General Lavarack, the current 7th Division commander and his planned successor, General Allen, were present at Brigadier Cox's brigade headquarters. They planned for the 2/31st Battalion to attack the ridge at Khirbe with the leading two companies. Once they did that, they would move forward to Merdjayoun. The barrage was commenced at 2:30am. The foremost men could see the abandoned French positions and could see men withdrawing ahead of them. The leading men moved past Qleaa and had moved forward to a cross-roads by 5am. The following companies had to fight French troops that had been bypassed by the leading companies. Khirbe was taken in a "sharp fight", where they took 56 French prisoners. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.